Financial Biz Rewind: AIG and Genworth Under INQUIRY, Blackstone’s WRITEDOWN

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s inquiry into mortgage-insurance practices that are alleged to have violated the law by paying banks fees to win business is expanded to include American International Group Inc. (NYSE:AIG) and Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE:GNW), in addition to PHH Corporation (NYSE:PHH), according to recent filings.

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The State of New York is charging the United Kingdom’s Standard Chartered.5 (SCBFF.PK) with “scheming” with Iran to hide more than 60,000 transactions that represent at least $250 billion over a 10-year period. If proven correct, the bank could lose its license to operate in New York. The complaint states that “In short, SCB operated as a rogue institution.” In response, a Group Director of the latter was quite displeased by the charges and responded, “You (expletive) Americans. Who are you to tell us that we’re not going to deal with the Iranians.” It is also alleged that the bank created automated systems to assist with the transactions. One suspects that the expletive was stronger than the usual ‘bloody’.

In an uncharacteristic move for The Blackstone Group. L.P. (NYSE:BX), the firm wrote down its €220 million in equity a few weeks ago in the German plastics and packaging company Klockner and gave the keys to a group of junior lenders. Observers remark that the surprise was not the writedown in equity that most already thought to be zero, but that Blackstone delayed doing so for so very long.

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